We hiked Kaena Point when my daughter and her friend came to visit. There is a huge rock nearby that is called the Pohaku o Kauai, the “rock of Kauai”. If you believe the legends, and I’m tending to believe them more and more (all except the Menehune Legend), then Ka’ena Point and the Pohaku o Kauai both got their names from one tragic incident that happened on a dark, stormy night off of the Oahu Coast many, many years ago…
(Cue the scary, chanting music!)
So, there was a baby born one night.
It was stormy night. I mean, like really stormy. The lightning went flash and the thunder went boom. The legend says that it rained so hard that it was the red soil from the mountains into the waterfalls and streams of low land to make them appear as if they were blood.
A rainbow appeared over the house that the baby was born in (yes, during the storm) and it was even there the next day. Obviously, the nearby people thought that the baby must be special. And he was.
The child’s name was Haupa and he grew to be strong and brave. Like, strong, strong. Like Hercules and massive-super powers Marvel superhero strong. Well, you get the picture…
Anyway, Haupa had a nasty temper, too. So while you wanted him on your side in a fight you did not want to spill his drink at the bar.
How Kaena and the Rock of Kauai got its name
There was an Oahu chief that organized a fishing party. His name was Ka’ena. On another night later on down the road of history, this night was stormy too, he and a bunch of villagers got into canoes and set course for the splendid fishing waters off of Oahu and towards Kauai with torches blazing.
Now, Haupa was sleeping (evidently on Kauai) and according to the legend, when he awoke to see the torches and noise in the storm waters, he mistook them for a war party that was coming to attack his people.
In my opinion, it would seem that Haupa was both half-asleep and half-drunk…but I don’t know. I wasn’t there. Seems plausible, though.
So, Haupa defends his people by throwing a huge boulder at the boats and the torches. Chief Ka’ena dies and the boulder winds up on the coast of Oahu. The forces of the boulder hit the water so hard that it threw huge amounts of sand on to the northwestern portion of Oahu creating a point that jutted into the water.
So, the villagers who survived called the area “Kaena Point” and the rock, of course, the Rock of Kauai.
But wait! There’s more. You get TWO Kaena Point Legends for the Price of One!
There’s another Legend that says the Rock of Kauai was left over from when the demi god, Maui, was trying to join all of the Islands together as one. He failed, obviously, but like static cling and that rogue sock in pants draw after laundry, the rock of Kauai still remains on Oahu and Kaena Point to this day.